The Lost Tribe Sound label like a good challenge. Each year for the past few they have set up a subscription service to release a batch of music under a theme. The previous years have seen the “Prelude To The Decline” and “We Stayed To The Path That Fell To Shadow” series. 2020 sees their new series “Fearful Void” take shape with a release schedule that includes the likes of From the Mouth of the Sun, William Ryan Fritch, Vieo Abiungo, yadayn, Microwolf, Several Wives, Arrowounds, and debut albums from Claire Deak & Tony Dupé (aka Saddleback), Mt Went (aka Seabuckthorn & Dave Anderson), Gallowglas, and Sailcloth. The label definitely does not rest on their laurels with each series bringing together a diverse group of sounds and their well known attention to detail. I will just skip over the inaugural release for the time being (William Ryan Fritch’s “The Letdown”, which will be featured shortly) and move on the next cab of the rank, Arrowounds “The Loneliness Of The Deep Sea Diver” which drops on July 17.
“The Loneliness of the Deep Sea Diver’ is the second release in Lost Tribe Sound’s Fearful Void Series. The album arrives courtesy of Arrowounds, the experimental electronic project of Ryan S Chamberlain. What began for Chamberlain as a simple concept of exploring his sound within the expanse of aquatic lore, quickly evolved into a story-line regarding an unnamed nautical exploration attempt that tragically unravels. Ultimately, this results in the title character being trapped below the surface by an event. Struggling with fear, paranoia and hallucinations brought on by sensory deprivation & oxygen levels, the diver fights to make sense of what is real and what is imagined in the depths. The themes of ‘The Loneliness…’ became sort of an analogy of Chamberlain’s feelings in his role as a caregiver to someone close to him suffering through cancer treatments, the confusion and loss of power and understanding in the midst of such a trying experience. Struggling for clarity in the quieter moments and using sound to maintain a semblance of balance and buoyancy in life, these recording sessions provided clarity for Chamberlain. The music allowed him to communicate emotions he was unable to fully comprehend or verbalize.”
When Lost Tribe Sound use the descriptor “experimental electronic” to describe the work of Ryan S Chamberlain they hit the nail on the head. I have spent the last few days in the company of this album and I am really none the wiser as to my understanding of it and that is OK. At times I have felt that there is a dub techno under current, at other dark ambience is in force and the others fell quite electroacoustic and experimental. but whatever the case is, “The Loneliness…” is the kind of album that is probably best listened to it’s entirety as there is a flowing nature to the pieces which makes it feel as if it is from one big audio canvas, divided into various sections. While you can detect the submersive water under current to the pieces, they feel as if Chamberlain wants to bring you into this world without it being overtly obvious.
The music is an ever moving beast that mutates between the styles that it encompasses. At times you are taken into murky depths, industrial like soundscapes, icy cold terrains with transmissions from the other side, dark squalls, sounds of things breaking down and the occasional four on the floor beat. Chamberlain wants to keep you on your toes as to where he is taking you and what hides around the next bend. A perfect example to this is the the opening of “Dark Tropics” with it’s dark metallic like drones that have modern classical touch and rumbling, looping detritus which are both encompassed be more screeching, atmospheric and tension filled sounds. Then there is the minimally austere “Diving Bell” to contend with and the GAS like “Sunken Phantoms / Hollow Earth” (and the single edit) which other than having the beat to hold it down and centre it, maintains Chamberlain’s dense soundscape. This is the type of music that you can easily get lost into as it’s reach and depth is far and wide. It’s also the type that the listener is active as opposed to being passive, such is it’s scope.
You can see why this is part of the latest LTS series. Lost Tribe Sound like pushing the sonic envelope with their catalogue by having releases which are as much about exploring the deeper, darker environments as much as they have an organic feel. You can see where a release such as this ties into their bigger picture while still existing in it’s own space. It is almost like the releases of the label are like distant relatives of the same family tree. If you are a fan of the label then you know your are in for a treat. If the label’s wares are new to you, seek out anyone of the label’s series samplers and go from there. “The Loneliness Of The Deep Sea Diver” is available on limited CD (100 copies) and Digital.